4 Insurance Coverages Every Homeowner Should Consider
Your home—and your life at home—has probably gone through many changes over the years. But has your home insurance policy kept up?
There’s no doubt that you’ve poured your heart and soul—and probably a good amount of hard-earned cash—into making the place you call home really feel like your own. It’s very likely that you’ve undertaken numerous improvement projects and added many special personal touches over the years. Plus, your once-calm house probably now feels more like Grand Central Station as your family and friend groups have expanded. Your household is constantly evolving, so Morse, of course, wants to make sure your home insurance coverage evolves with it and continues to meet your growing protection requirements.
Get to know these four home insurance coverages and how they can help you protect the home and life you’ve worked hard to build.
While the changes to your home have likely brought you and your family a lot more enjoyment, they may also have increased your exposure to an unexpected loss, like a costly cyberattack, an expensive home system breakdown, or even a financially devastating lawsuit. Adding one or more of the following four home insurance coverage options to your standard homeowners policy may be an important step to helping you safeguard everything you hold dear for the long term.
Morse remembers the days when family members would gather around one television set, argue over who got to use the landline next, and share a single monstrous desktop computer. How things have changed. Now, it’s very likely that everyone in your household has their own laptop, tablet, cell phone, or any number of other digital devices. There are also probably multiple smart TVs, a constantly on-alert virtual assistant, a gaming system, and any number of Wi-Fi–enabled appliances scattered throughout the house. All this technology certainly makes it much easier to do things from home, including working remotely, shopping until you drop, and staying in touch with friends and family all over the world. On the other hand, this constant connectivity also dramatically increases the risk that you or a family member might fall victim to cybercrime, an incident that typically comes with hefty financial tolls and can cause a big disruption to your life. However, if you add Personal Cyber Protection Coverage to your home insurance policy, you typically gain access to professionals who can support you in recovering from a wide range of cyber events as well as get help paying for many of the costs associated with the following types of cybercrime:
- Cyber Extortion
- Online Fraud
- Data Breach
- Identity Theft
2. Home Systems Protection
Our guess is that the longer you have had your home, the higher your standards of comfort, convenience, and security have become. Investing in home systems like radiant heating for your bathroom floors, an emergency generator, or a smart security system certainly helps your whole family feel at ease and safe around the clock. So, what would happen if one or more of these systems that you and your family have come to rely on suddenly were to stop working? What Morse knows for sure is that it can end up being an extremely costly, inconvenient, and stressful situation for a homeowner. While a standard home insurance policy may help you cover costs associated with property damage caused by a faulty piece of equipment, it usually will not help with the expense of repairing or replacing the machine itself. However, as long as an equipment breakdown is due to a sudden or accidental mechanical or electrical event, having the Home Systems Protection endorsement can enhance your current homeowners insurance program and provide coverage that helps you replace or fix essential home systems, including:
- Boilers and Furnaces
- Home Security Monitoring
- Electrical Service Panels
- Central Air Conditioning
- Renewable Heating (e.g., Solar)
- Permanent Emergency Generators
- Pool and Spa Pumps
- Radiant Floor Heating
3. Water Backup Coverage
Picture this: You’re just getting home from your family’s incredibly fun and relaxing annual summer vacation. But the good vibes don’t last for long. As you step in the door, there’s a “squish-squish-squish” sound underfoot and you can feel dampness seeping into your shoes and socks. You take a quick look around and see that the entire first floor of your home is covered with water (and possibly some other yucky things too). How did this happen? There are many reasons why this uninvited water might have invaded your home. Maybe your sump pump decided to stop working just as heavy rainfall was drenching your area. Or perhaps a root or something similar clogged or ruptured a sewer or septic line on your property, leading to a toilet, sink, or shower drain backing up into your home. Whatever the cause, after you find the source of the leak and stop it, your focus will obviously be on cleaning up this mess and repairing or replacing anything that was damaged by it. Morse hates to report that this process is neither easy nor inexpensive. Water can do extensive harm to your home’s structure and to your belongings. In addition, you may be faced with having to get rid of standing sewage and potentially some minor mold damage. Standard home insurance does not normally cover any of the remediation expenses related to these issues. But don’t worry! Of course, there is an endorsement, called Water Backup Coverage, that you can add to your homeowners policy to help you pay for the costs associated with water damage to your home or personal property if it’s discharged or overflows from:
- A sewer or drain.
- A sump, sump pump, or related equipment.
- Any system designed to remove subsurface water from the foundation area.
There are a couple of final things you should know about this endorsement. First, it will generally not cover water backup damage that has been caused by a maintenance issue or because of homeowner negligence. In addition, this coverage won’t pay to replace or repair the broken sump pump itself—you’ll need Home Systems Protection coverage for that (see #2 for more information).
4. Personal Umbrella Insurance
From your heated, saltwater pool to the dream sport court you built for your kids, you’ve likely added many things to your property that liven up both your home and life. However, they may also increase the risk of an accident happening. And, if a mishap were to happen, like someone slipping on your pool deck or a hard-hit tennis ball going right through your neighbor’s window, you could end up being sued for any resulting injuries or damages. The good news is that a standard homeowners policy typically has some personal liability coverage built in, meaning you may get some help covering expenses related to a claim, including medical and legal fees. The not-so-good news is that this personal liability coverage has a limit—one that can be reached quickly in a serious lawsuit. Having a Personal Umbrella Insurance policy, though, can provide you with an extra layer of liability coverage that generally goes into effect once the limits of your home insurance policy are exceeded. An umbrella policy may also help keep you from having to spend thousands of dollars or forfeit valuable assets, like your home, that may be vulnerable in a legal judgment or settlement against you. While Personal Umbrella Insurance is something every homeowner should consider, you may want to especially take the time to consider getting this coverage if:
- Your home has special features such as a pool, hot tub, or trampoline.
- You have teenagers or own a certain breed of dog.
- You have significant assets, including rental investment properties.
- You are a volunteer coach or nonprofit board member.
- You frequently host friends and family in your home.
- You own recreational vehicles like a boat, an ATV, or a motorcycle.
Morse, of course, can help you determine which home insurance coverages to select for your ever-changing home and life.
While these coverages are optional, it doesn’t make them any less important to consider sooner rather than later. But the Morse team knows this is a lot of information to sift through. Believe it or not, we’ve only scratched the surface of what a homeowner should probably know about these insurance add-ons before investing in them. So, if you would like the assistance, advice, and perspective of a local insurance professional, the Morse team is here to help. Please don’t hesitate to call us for help updating your home insurance policy to make sure it fits the property, belongings, family, and life you have today, and what you may be envisioning for the future.